[LISTEN] Journeys with Joanne Joseph: The Rose of Mamelodi

Joanne Joseph spoke to a young lady who has taken charge of the narrative around her body, Sharon Rose Khumalo better known as the Rose of Mamelodi.

Khumalo has Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, which means that she is genetically male with an XY chromosome but her physical traits are completely female.

She says she was 21 when she found out she was intersex.

So on the inside, I was born without a uterus and ovaries, instead I had undeveloped testes which I also call gonads. I had to remove those because they had a chance of later developing into cancer.

Sharon Rose Khumalo

I think pre-puberty I didn't even have any sort of inkling in terms of having this condition but it was only when all my friends started getting on their periods and I was not getting mine, up until 2012, that I went to the doctor and found out why. I was 21.

Sharon Rose Khumalo

Khumalo says she has found it easier overtime to accept her gender identity.

It challenges a lot of opinions especially coming from a very strong Christian background that really challenged my faith as well, you see how it challenges other Christians. There is nothing wrong with a person having to disagree, this is my reality, this is my life and I can't force it upon anybody else.

Sharon Rose Khumalo

Whenever I meet someone new, they don't know this part about me so the hardest thing for me is having to suss out how the person will be able to handle it. I prefer to tell people early on so you can make a decision.

Sharon Rose Khumalo

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